EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: President Adama Barrow, Sunday presided over the opening of 2020 Legal Year at the law complex at High Court in Banjul.
The occasion was graced by vice, Dr Isatou Touray, minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambedou, Lawyers from the bar and bench and those from the Cadi Court.
Mr Barrow said a sound national justice system administration is vital for the stability and development of any nation, saying it is important for all branches of Government and the general public to give the legal and judicial system the much needed support for it to function responsibly.
“When Gambians voted for change in 2016, they chose democratic rule over dictatorship and the rule of law over disregard of freedoms and civil liberties. They voted for a Gambia free from unlawful arrests, brutality of law enforcement agents, suppression of the press and detention without trial, among other forms of violation,” he said.
He said The Gambia has made the most significant mark in international human rights promotion since the adoption of the African Charter on Human and People`s Rights in 1986.
“Having recognised our recent gains in defending human rights, in 2018, the OIC nominated The Gambia as Chair of its Inter-Ministerial Committee for accountability for the Rohingya people in Myanmar,” he said, adding that subsequently, with the support of the OIC, The Gambia Government instituted legal proceedings at the International Court of Justice against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar to stop all acts of genocide against the Rohingya,” Mr Barrow said.
Chief justice Jallow said the ceremonial red robes which has been the traditional outfit in such occasions which was inherited from the United Kingdom for more than a century has now been replaced by a set of robes that are simpler and more convenient.
“This marks the beginning of the change of robes within the superior courts of the judiciary, which should start in the opening of the next legal year which will be used by Gambia court of appeal and high court judges,” he said
Chief Justice Hassan Jallow said looking back on the 2019 judicial year, the statistics relating to disposal of cases are encouraging.
“The year 2019 show the registration of 8,178 cases in the entire court system and 5,446 of these cases were disposed of, representing a disposal rate of 67% and leaving 3,687 cases pending,” he said.
He said also during that period, the supreme court disposed of 50% of its cases as it did in the court of Appeal (74 out of 148) and the High Court (590 out of 1032). He said the Magistrates’ Courts system disposed of 65% of its 5,655 cases and Cadi Courts system disposed of 65% of its 1,520 cases.
Chief Justice Jallow commended all the judicial officers and their Support staff for their performance particularly Brikama and Kanifing Magistrates’ Courts and members of the Bar and other stakeholders
He singled out Brikama Magistrate Court for the disposal of 1,222 of their 1,718 cases which accounts for 71% and the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court which had a higher disposal rate of almost 90% with the conclusion of 1,656 of their 1,981 cases.
He said in order to ensure delivery of some 105 long pending judgments, six Magistrates were appointed and tasked with the conclusion of the cases.
He reported that so far 71 of the cases (both criminal and civil) have been concluded since the assignment was made in October, 2019, saying they now look forward to the determination of the rest of the cases.
Story written by Binta Badjie